2008 Suzuki KingQuad 750 Review
This year marks Suzuki’s 25th anniversary of producing the industry’s first ATVs, having begun making these machines when ATCs, otherwise known as three-wheelers, still dominated the off-road market. Suzuki is rightfully proud of being the ‘First on Four Wheels,’ and the company is celebrating by expanding its King Quad lineup.
At the top of the food chain is the 2008 KingQuad 750. While many ATV ride reviews take place in temperate conditions, we ran the newest KingQuad smack dab in the middle of a northern Minnesota cold snap.
Bigger is better
The 2008 750 KingQuad has the largest-volume engine that Suzuki has ever released in an ATV. The new power plant is a bored-out version of the same engine found on the 700 KingQuad, with an expanded 104mm cylinder diameter that brings the displacement from 695cc to 722ccs. The engine has the same smooth design features as the 700, including a plasma-spray coated cylinder to help dissipate heat and prolong engine life. The crankshaft is counter-balanced to reduce vibration, and the layout is canted at 48 degrees to lower the seat height and improve the King’s stability. There are at least three other mills in the industry that exceed the 750 in displacement and power, but this engine is a leader in the 700 to 750cc category that it is targeted for.
KingQuad 1, Jack Frost 0
The 750s first test was simple—the engine had to start. An air temperature of -11 degrees Fahrenheit and a stiff northwest wind made for frigid conditions. After gasping on a couple of gulps of arctic air, the engine purred to life at a sustained idle. This alone is a recommendation for the fuel injection system. The moment the key is turned on, the 750’s higher exhaust pitch proclaims that it is higher-strung and has a nastier attitude than the potent 700 does. The 750 itches to be driven fast, and the steep acceleration curve tuned into the CVT will allow an able quad pilot to execute his speed dreams well. After a couple of minutes warming up the engine, it was time to ride.
Flash-frozen exhaust gasses reminiscent of a 747 contrail formed a plume behind the machine as we guided the 750 down forest roads. Aftermarket hand guards from Raider Powersports helped reduce windchill on the hands. While the 750 is a ‘Sport-Utility’ ATV, Suzuki did not forget the sport half of the equation. This package is a 50/50 split.
Winter riding is different—it’s colder. No really, the cold notably increased the viscosity of the strut damping fluids, the brake fluid and the gearcase fluids. Riding on off-road trails, while catching some air here and there, loosened up the 750 to allow for an objective evaluation of its performance. I felt the extra power of the 750 over the 700. Every time I dug into the throttle asking for more g-force, such as escaping a ‘stuck’ in deep snow or skating up a steep, ice-covered hill, the extra juice was there (just like the 700) but with perhaps a little extra. Being a power fiend, I love the confident, unquestioning throttle response of the KingQuad 750. Overall, Suzuki’s motors just might be the smoothest ATV power plants on the market today. The exhaust silencer is stainless steel and keeps the engine outflow very quiet. As might be expected from a big single, the air intake puts out a slight amount of noise, but nothing annoying. Riding on ice and snow requires the four-wheel-drive switch to be engaged if you want to stay under control. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t, but whether spinning out or tracking in a straight line the extra horsepower was predictable and easily harnessed by the updated chassis, suspension and steering. There’s not much traffic competing for space on the tote roads, but most states in the US require that a rider stays off of groomed snowmobile trails.
The 750 handles better than last year’s 700 did. The steering is more precise and the suspension is better calibrated. Suzuki worked at improving these characteristics for 2008 and the work has paid off noticeably. The 750 has five-way adjustable springs cushioning the rider and load. KYB shocks absorb energy from the well-calibrated double-wishbone front and rear suspension assemblies. A swaybar is tucked neatly in the back, just like the 450 and 700 King Quads. The 750 has a starting clutch for more positive belt engagement and an overrunning sprag clutch in the cvt putting engine-braking torque back into the drivetrain. Engine braking in hills is seamless—a design that Suzuki should truly be commended for. A rider can roll into a downhill run almost as comfortably as riding on flat top. It’s a system that is hard to beat. Disc brakes in the front and a fluid-shear brake in back provide predictable stopping power.
Back at the ranch
With a steaming cup of hot coffee in hand and a Russian trooper hat keeping my cranium insulated, I took some time to appreciate the elegant simplicity of Suzuki’s design. There are few electronic gadgets outside of the fuel injection system and the digital speedometer. Handlebar controls are the same as in the past—with the CPSC mandated ignition stop and high/low beam switches next to the left hand grip and the four-wheel drive/front locker switch next to the right hand grip. The cargo racks are spartan in the best sense of the word—made for utility, with an extra layer of powder-coated black paint to help sustain their appearance.
Tires are one area that could probably use some improvement. More aggressive and deeper lugs would carry this beast more effectively through a mud pit. Although the stock tires are not bad, Suzuki hasn’t improved its stock rubber as much as some competitors have.
The digital gauge is very functional and offers the same information as in the past. Fit and finish is good. I took off the seat to look underneath it and discovered that installing the seat is a very predictable operation, a small touch but one indicating Suzuki’s thorough quality approach. The front end has the ‘open mouth’ look down low, which makes winch installation and operation a breeze and it makes radiator access easier, too. The headlight and grille look sleek and aggressive. There is a spot for a ball hitch to pull a trailer or implement in the back. All in all, Suzuki has delivered a very sweet ride with the 2008 KingQuad 750. It’s got bigger power and better handling than the company’s previous monarch, the 700, while maintaining the distinctive Suzuki personality that many ATV riders have come to love.
|Riding with the King|
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Published February 25th, 2008 3:04 PM
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